"Integrity, excellence and responsiveness are the hallmarks of exceptional client service. I approach every project with my 'A' game, and always with a sense of urgency to produce high quality work and meet my clients’ expectations."
Capitalizing on years of law firm and corporate in-house counsel experience, Brian brings insight and expertise to his current law practice as he represents clients in commercial real estate, government affairs and general business matters, including corporate business services and serving as outside general counsel to small and mid-size companies.
Brian co-chairs the firm’s commercial real estate development practice group. His real estate practice includes representation of commercial developers, lenders, builders and commercial landlords and tenants in a variety of issues ranging across real estate and general business areas. Brian has extensive experience with a wide variety of real estate acquisitions, sales and development involving retail stores, shopping centers, multifamily, office buildings and mixed-use developments. He also represents property owners and developers in land use and zoning projects throughout Virginia.
Representing clients in business matters and as outside general counsel, Brian routinely provides day-to-day advice and counsel to CEOs, in-house counsel, business managers, human resource officers and staff personnel on a variety of legal issues, such as contract review, negotiating and drafting complex commercial agreements, handling employment and governance issues, regulatory matters, government relations, legislative guidance and a range of strategic and policy issues.
Brian regularly assists clients as a consultant on government relations, public affairs and economic development projects including issue and project advocacy, public private partnerships and tax increment financed developments.
Examples of Brian’s representative matters include:
- Representation of developers in public-private economic development projects.
- Negotiation and documentation of real estate sales and acquisitions for commercial, office and mixed-use projects.
- Negotiation and drafting shopping center development agreements, operating and easement agreements, restrictive covenants and joint site work agreements.
- Negotiation and drafting office, residential and retail leases and real estate development agreements.
- Representation in zoning and other land use matters involving local municipalities, community groups and neighborhood associations.
- Management of due diligence activities in connection with feasibility studies for acquisitions.
- Handling government relations matters for developers and construction companies.
Business and Outside General Counsel Services
- Counseling business managers on day-to-day legal issues across various corporate departments.
- Development of standardized forms and legal procedures for corporate departments.
- Extensive experience negotiating, drafting and reviewing complex commercial agreements and corporate transactions, including vendor contracts, asset purchase agreements, joint ventures and product sales.
- Counseling owners and managers on employment issues, including hiring practices, EEO compliance, accommodating disabilities, termination of employees, drafting work-place policies, conducting misconduct investigations and drafting employment, consulting and non-competition agreements.
- Due diligence for commercial transactions.
- Primary responsibility for establishing a joint venture to create (and majority own) a de novo federal savings bank.
In addition to law firm experience, Brian served as vice president and general counsel for Ukrop’s Super Markets, Inc., a multi-division company that included retail, manufacturing and a bank holding company. He is a former Substitute Judge for the Commonwealth of Virginia and a member of the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners, the Virginia licensing authority for attorneys which is responsible for ascertaining the qualifications of applicants and drafting, administering and grading the bar examination.
Best Lawyers in America® for Real Estate Law, 2024
Named to "Legal Elite" (Administrative Government/Corporate Counsel), 2018-2020; (Real Estate/Land Use), 2017; (Business Law), 2016, Virginia Business; (Administrative Government), 2021-2022
Rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating™: Recognized by peers with the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical practice.
Fellows of the Virginia Law Foundation: An honor that represents less than 1% of all members of the Virginia State Bar and is conferred on lawyers who have maintained and upheld the highest standards of the profession, are outstanding in the community, and distinguished in the practice of law for at least 10 years.
Virginia Commonwealth University Alumni Star Award: Awarded for community, humanitarian and professional achievements and university service.
Virginia Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division Fellows Award: Honored for promoting the VBA’s mission through outstanding work and long-term service.
Appointment by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, to the faculty of the Virginia State Bar Professionalism Course which is required for all newly-licensed Virginia lawyers. The faculty consists of some of Virginia’s best judges and lawyers.
Representative Real Estate and Land Use Experience
- Serve as outside real estate counsel for a large publicly-traded multi-state corporation, handling acquisitions, dispositions, easements, development agreements, leases and related real estate matters.
- Led Hirschler team serving as legal counsel for a Chicago-based national real estate developer for the land acquisition and development of an office tower in downtown Richmond. The project was a public-private partnership with the City of Richmond and its Economic Development Authority, and includes an 18-story office tower with 315,000 square feet of office space, 14,000 square feet of retail space and over 500 parking spaces. Total project costs exceeded $115 million. In addition to coordinating the representation and involvement with all legal aspects of the project, Brian also handled the government relations and public-private partnership components. Overall, the Hirschler team handled:
- Acquisition of multiple land parcels
- Closure and vacation of a public street
- Creation of a commercial condominium and ground lease structure
- Master development agreement involving the City of Richmond, the developer, lender, the City’s Economic Development Authority
- Various contracts, easements, real estate purchase and sale agreements, creation of a commercial condominium structure, escrow agreements, etc.
- Negotiating Minority Business Enterprise goals with the City
- Legal and government relations work required for the acquisition of multiple land parcels and nine separate ordinances for the overall development (all passed with 9-0 votes)
- Handled acquisition and disposition of multiple retail shopping centers, outparcels and two medical office buildings for a single out of state client investor. The properties are located in Maryland and Virginia.
- Represented Lynx Real Estate Development on various land use issues related to a $50 million to $60 million mixed-use development in the Manchester neighborhood of Richmond. Brian created a public private partnership, "P3", proposal for a Synthetic TIF (tax increment financing), which allows Lynx to recoup 80 percent of the real estate taxes paid on the development in exchange for providing public certain amenities, such as parking. The TIF will amount to roughly $485,000 annually over the next decade.
- Successfully represented a local development company in a protracted rezoning case and development agreement negotiations with the City of Richmond. Brian led the negotiation and drafting of the development agreement with the City of Richmond which included an exchange of City-owned land, resolution of various access, easement and title disputes and the replacement of an outdated bridge over a canal. Despite opposition from local neighborhood and civic organizations, Brian prepared a compelling rezoning case with proffers to shift the property from Riverfront zoning to Central Business District zoning, allowing an increase in height from six stories to sixteen stories.
- Represented national developer as local counsel in a $96 million dollar public-private redevelopment project involving a first of its kind development agreement with a State university. Under a 50-year ground lease and operating agreement, the developer designed, built, finance and operates a new 12-story residence hall.
Representative Business and Outside General Counsel Experience
- Led a cross-practice Hirschler team in the representation of a local client in a multi-million dollar acquisition and merger transaction involving a local marketing firm, a local media production company and an international marketing firm. The Hirschler team handled the acquisition process, intellectual property issues, tax matters, the formation of the new entity and negotiating and drafting the various deal documents and handling the resulting employment issues, including drafting severance and employment agreements.
- Provides outside general counsel services to various clients including: (i) a local marketing and advertising firm with a national client base; (ii) a local food manufacturer and distributor; (iii) a heavy equipment distributor and dealership; and (iv) a local advertising media company. Work for these clients includes advice and counsel to the CEO on various legal issues, handling all contract review and drafting, creating standardized forms and legal procedures, lease negotiations and other commercial real estate matters, day-to-day employment matters, including employment agreements, workplace policies, harassment and other compliance training.
- Represents several non-profit organizations as outside general counsel for services including contract review and drafting and frequent advice and counsel to the organizations’ executives and senior staff on issues involving, contracts, employment, retail sales, vendor agreements and liability concerns.
Representative Government Relations and Advocacy Experience
- Using local contacts and a strong advocacy campaign, successfully represented a client in a local government effort to repeal part of an economic development deal granted to the client. The client’s rights were preserved by a 7-2 vote to reject the proposed ordinance.
- Appointed by local Mayor to a team that performed a comprehensive review of City Hall departments. Responsibilities included reviewing the Department of Planning and Development, the Department of Economic and Community Development and the Department of Minority Business Development.
- Represents a local company in community and government advocacy efforts in connection with a highly controversial application for designation of a historic district to the National Register of Historic Places (in order to qualify for state and federal tax credits).
- Hirschler Grows Best Lawyers in America Recognitions to 46 Attorneys, Two Honored as “Lawyers of the Year” and Nine as “Ones to Watch”08.17.2023
- Virginia Business Magazine, 11.30.2020
- 38 Hirschler Lawyers Named Among Virginia Business Legal Elite, Lisa Goodwin Profiled in Environmental Law CategoryVirginia Business Magazine , 12.05.2019
- Hirschler Fleischer and Gateway Plaza Project Make Front Page News in Mid-Atlantic Real Estate Journal10.15.2013
- Regional Roundup: Virtual Technology, Process Modifications Keep Rappahannock Area Projects Moving Forward in a Time of Uncertainty04.22.2020
- Virtual Technology and Process Modifications Keep Economic Development Projects Moving Forward in a Time of Uncertainty04.21.2020
Beyond the Law
Beyond the Law
To balance family, work and volunteer time, Brian enjoys reading, board games, cooking (especially grilling) and spending time with his family and friends.
Brian has a strong community presence and a distinguished record of community involvement. He has served on over 20 boards of directors in Virginia (nonprofit and corporate). He is the immediate past chairman and current General Counsel of Venture Richmond (a local public private partnership), president of the Virginia Commonwealth University Real Estate Foundation and board member of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia.
Brian served on the Board of Commissioners of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority, including the position of chairman for two years. He also served on the Virginia Commonwealth University Board of Visitors for eight years and the VCU Real Estate Foundation Board of Directors for nine years. Additionally, Brian has been active in the local arts community, serving Visual Arts Center of Richmond as a member of its Board of Directors and Executive Committee.
William & Mary Law School, J.D.
Virginia Commonwealth University, B.A.